Culinary double: IKA/Culinary Olympics and Intergastra opened Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics

The IKA/Culinary Olympics and the Intergastra trade fair kicked off today in Stuttgart with the parade of nations and the lighting of the “Olympic flame”.

From today, the capital of Baden-Württemberg will once again become an international stage for the culinary profession: the IKA/Culinary Olympics and Intergastra, the trade fair for the hotel and catering industry, opened today at the International Congress Center (ICS) at Messe Stuttgart. Around 2,000 invited guests from politics, business and society, representatives of the German Chefs’ Association (VKD), the World Association of Chefs’ Societies and the participating chef teams as well as international fans and judges were part of the event. More than 1,800 fans also followed the show on their screens via IKA TV.

VKD President Daniel Schade opened the 26th IKA. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics
VKD President Daniel Schade opened the 26th IKA. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics

International get-together 

More than 1,200 participants from 55 nations, preparing more than 7,000 high-quality menus in 17 competition kitchens or presenting their creativity in culinary showpieces: This is what visitors to the IKA/Culinary Olympics can look forward to over the next four days. At the award ceremony on 7 February, it will be announced who will be following the previous winners and take home the prestigious titles in the various categories. The IKA/Culinary Olympics is hosted by the VKD for the 26th time in 2024 – for the second time in Stuttgart. “With the IKA, the VKD has been celebrating the peaceful togetherness of the international chef community for almost 125 years,” says VKD President Daniel Schade. “Cultural or linguistic differences do not count, but the shared passion for the cooking profession, great taste and the ambition to be at the top of our game individually or as a team. We are proud of that.” Waving flags, several hundred chefs from all over the world entered the ICS today as the nations marched in, getting themselves and the cheering fans in the mood to represent their country at the world’s biggest culinary competition. Digital greetings were given by Cem Özdemir, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Germany. Sabine Kurtz, State Secretary for Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection in Baden-Württemberg, conveyed the greetings of the state government. Daniel Schade then lit the “Olympic” flame and opened the 26th IKA with the words ” I declare the IKA/Culinary Olympics 2024 open!”  

Attracting the Trade Experts 

The lighting of the IKA flame also marked the start of the Intergastra trade fair. “We are very happy and proud that Messe Stuttgart is hosting this top-class, international culinary art competition for the second time,” says Stefan Lohnert, Managing Director of Messe Stuttgart. “We are looking forward to exciting competitions and gastronomic highlights with chefs from 55 nations – from lunch to a seven-course menu at the Chef’s Table.” This renowned competition is sure to inspire trade visitors to Intergastra. The trade fair for the hotel and catering industry “represents the whole world of hospitality. It is one of the top three HoReCa trade fairs in Europe and, with its themed halls featuring all market leaders and specialist providers, is regarded as the leading trade fair for the hotel and catering industry in the German-speaking countries”. 

Parade of Nations. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics
Parade of Nations. Photo: IKA/Culinary Olympics

Networking and Discussions  

Dehoga Baden-Württemberg is also looking forward to the culinary duo of trade fair and Culinary Olympics, which “as a conceptual sponsor and active co-creator, together with Messe Stuttgart, has stood for the successful development of Intergastra for over 50 years”, says Fritz Engelhardt, Chairman of the Hotel and Restaurant Association Dehoga Baden-Württemberg. “Together with our partners, we are once again offering a strong program on the large Dehoga stage in Hall 7 with many highlights, well-known guests and exciting insights. I am looking forward to many interesting contacts and discussions there – and of course I am also looking forward to the major international highlight, the IKA/Culinary Olympics. The brilliant IKA kick-off four years ago in Stuttgart has shown that the two events are a good match: Intergastra and IKA complement each other perfectly. We will experience this once again in 2024.”  

IKA and Intergastra are expecting many thousands of visitors in the next days. The IKA site at the ICS will become a “Mecca” for international professional chefs, cuisine enthusiasts and fans of great food. When the Olympic spirit meets culinary highlights, goosebump moments are guaranteed – as well as experiences that participants and guests will remember for a long time.

Missed the livestream? Watch it now in the media library on YouTube.

Overview of the teams, menus and how to get there:


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